Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Elie Wiesel

By Elie Wiesel

A book review by Ginger Dawn Harman
Night by Elie Wiesel is best defined as humility, horrific times, and passionate memories; devastating to its core. It tells the poignant and difficult story of Elie Wiesel's experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during 1944–1945, at the height of the Holocaust and toward the end of the Second World War. I initially became interested in this novel after a discussion of Viktor E. Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Ellie Wiesel, transports readers to a place no one should ever have to go, a concentration camp. After reading several Holocaust experiences, I was most touched with the raw honest nature of Night. With intense imagery, symbolism, and literary devices, Elie Wiesel develops a thematic base of inhumanity vs. faith.

Foreshadowing is prominent throughout the book. For example, Moshe the Beadle returns to his village after escaping the Gestapo in Poland near the end of 1942. He considers himself a messenger however, the villagers believe he has lost his mind and ignore his frenzied warning. Another scene on a train describes Madame Schächter with a ten-year-old son who hysterically cries "Fire! A terrible fire! Mercy! Oh, that fire!" This use of foreshadowing adds to the theme of disbelief and silence as rational excuses are made to explain both of their behavior. Furthermore, it gives a seriousness to the tone of the memoir. Intense imagery creates a haunting and devastating true story for the reader. The scene with Juliek the musician on the train and the interactions of The Pipel increases the sense of hopelessness and that humanity is irredeemable as well as God having abandoned his creation. 

Although this is a rather short read, it has a very profound and powerful impact. Night cautions of the dangers of silence in the face of hatred and persecution. Elie Wiesel cautions the world to never forget the Holocaust in order to prevent it from happening again. The main characters are Eliezer and his father, Chlomo Wiese. Without giving the memoir away, the most profound and heart wrenching scene are between father and son. My favorite quote was, “For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences.” My purchased edition included the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech along with other valuable resources such as the preface to the new translation. Books such as Night will forever remain a voice to the global world. There is great emphasis of the importance to never forget the past and that we must never be afraid to speak or fight for those that society has blindly ignored. Author Elie Wiesel states it best when he wrote, “I believe it important to emphasize how strongly I feel that books, just like people, have a destiny. Some invite sorrow, others joy, some both.” Yes, people and books invite and create the destiny of change, hope, and remembrance. I give my highest recommendation to Night by Elie Wiesel.


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